In an effort to eat healthier, I've been making whole wheat bread at home. We got a wonderful bread machine from my sister-in-law and her husband that they didn't use. I found the owner's manual and some recipes online. It seemed pretty simple...that is until half-way through the cycle on my first loaf. I thought something was wrong with the machine, because it didn't mix the ingredients all the way. I stopped the machine and looked up some troubleshooting tips online. The first one was "make sure the bread pan is snapped securely into the machine." I thought that's so idiotic, anyone would have done that...well, anyone but me! I checked it and it WASN'T all the way in...duh! So I snapped it in and started the machine again. Needless to say, that loaf of bread was a flop.
Bread is so finicky. It's such a tedious, scientific (i.e. chemistry) process where every thing has to be exactly perfect. So I tried again, sure that the only mistake was that I didn't snap the pan in all the way. Loaf #2...a flop. I thought, "I'm a baker's daughter and can't make bread. There is seriously something wrong with me!!" I put my flopped loaf into a ziploc bag and took it to the bakery to ask my dad for help. Fortunately, he didn't laugh at me for wanting to make my own bread when I can get it for free. I happened to go on a day when another master baker was visiting my dad. The two of them examined the bread's texture, color, density, and the recipe I was using and gave me some tips for successful bread making. I went home eager to try again (although you can only try so many times in one day as the bread machine takes almost 5 hours to make whole wheat bread). Well, third time's a charm and we had decent bread.
I've refined the process a little bit since, and I make up "mixes" of the dry ingredients once a week to cut down on prep time. 100% whole wheat bread is hard to find, because most "wheat" breads are made of a mixture of white and wheat flour. However, we get it fresh and homemade several times a week. Yum!